I went down some fucking rabbit hole on the internet and ended up on this shit: The 5 Most Powerful Words in the English Language.
It’s a fine little list written by a popular blog about “blogging.” The article’s 5 words:
I’m calling bullshit on this whole thing.
First, my god damn editor is spinning in his grave with “in the English Language” — means the same thing as “in English” and it’s 11 characters longer. The delete key is the best key — use it.
“You” sucks. That’s the language of the librarian, the scold, and the nun. “You” don’t fucking get to tell me what to do. I get pissed off just typing it, let alone reading through someone telling “you” (meaning “me”) what to do. As my high school students used to say: “you don’t know me.” Only use you, as in “Fuck You,” when you are looking for words that rhyme too, or you really do want to tell people exactly what to do.
“Because” is a crap word. The writer listed it to encourage writers to show “why.” Of all the journalism “W” words (Who, What, When, Where and Why) — Why is by far the most interesting. But “because” is the shittiest way to get there. There are a ton of techniques to avoid “because.” The easiest is just put in a period, delete
because and start a new sentence. People will understand the next sentence is about “Why” without being beaten over the fucking head with it.
He ran because the massive black dog was chasing him.
He ran. The massive black dog was chasing him.
Free, Instantly and New is the unholy trinity of spam. Madison Avenue has been preaching that shit since they first started printing the Sears Catalogue. It probably goes back further than that. I’ll bet right after the Bible, Gutenberg’s next print job was titled “New and Improved – Bible.” Only a spamming hack will fill a story with that trinity of atrocities.
Sure this rabbit hole blog has 10,000 followers, and I have 8. (Actual number of readers may vary…) But don’t confuse what works with “the crowd” for “powerful” language.
They may not drive traffic or please people, but to put power in English — go big:
- Bullshit (or just plain old shit)
Sure there are some racial terms and body parts that might even have more emotional responses, but that steps into slurs and shock. Fuck that.
Yes, all these words are “dirty.” Who the fuck decided they are “dirty.” I don’t know anybody who said they consciously made that decision. It was something they were told when they were 3 years old. Calling words “dirty” is a means of control from the religious, the power hungry, and the petty.
Every time we use them we Fight the Power. And our brains know it too. They store these powerful words in special places that can outlast Alzheimers.
For my lack of personal experience, I’ve written a lot about “fuck.” It’s the only word I know that can be every part of speech. Nouns, verbs, adjectives — it works in almost every case. Want to find out how powerful it is? Scream “Fuck” from the balcony of a hotel or resort. (Newks anyone?). People will remember you for years to come.
“Bullshit” can also flip uses and be a noun, adjective or verb. It’s clear, it’s simple and it’s fun to say. It might be a nonsense combination of a male cow and excrement, but just saying “that’s bullshit” is one of the best ways to end a conversation — or start a fight.
It’s also a great search term on Google.
“Shit” has similar power and versatility, but I generally prefer to add the “bull” for emphasis and to put that puff of air in my mouth as I say the “B” before the shit.
“Douchebag” is another nonsense combination of a cleaning fluid and a bag. Douchebag transcends it’s own meaning and can be applied to old and young alike. While a douche can be very effective and useful for everyone involved, no one wants to be a douchebag. And that’s what gives this nonsense word power.
Ironic Body Parts
Dick and Pussy are bookends for the same ironic twist — where simple terms for genitalia shape shift into personalities (that are the opposite of the genitals’ characterists). For 95 percent of their lives, dicks are soft, small and vulnerable. But “dicks” are aggressive, angry and disagreeable people.
On the body, a pussy can expand and contract with incredible flexibility and power. Anything that can push out another human being and not be destroyed in the process is pretty amazing. Try growing an 8-pound tumor and cutting it out of a leg… that’s a recipe to be on crutches for life. But “pussies” are weak, soft people who can’t even finish one fucking cookie.
You could put “asshole” in the same category — you know the anus has the most nerves and is often the most sensitive part of the body… But I’d make it the 6th word, and this is a top 5 list.
Some people hate the “pussy” word and say its demeaning. I get that. I’m just not smart enough to find another word with the same kind of power when it comes to describing people like the unique personality that is “Pussy Joe.” Interestingly, nobody seems offended when we say “dick” (except dudes named Richard or Weiner or both).
There are nearly 200,000 words in English, and many may have power. I’m sure other writers could make their own lists.
Based on the opinions of all 8 of my readers, people probably won’t like my bullshit lists, but they sure beat the shit out of “because”, “you” and “new”.